Education Career Field
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Through a career in education, you will be directly or indirectly involved with helping people learn and grow, personally and/or professionally. While some careers may require advanced degrees and/or special licensure, there are many options for liberal arts students who have a desire to help others within the field of Education with a bachelor’s degree. You do NOT need to major in education to work in education or be considered an educator.
The field of ‘Education’ is defined broadly, and includes careers in teaching, instruction, and training; administration; research; academic and student support services; and much more! Some examples include teaching students in a classroom, providing training to employees in a business, designing curriculum or policies, or providing support to educators and students. Additionally, you could work in public, private, community, or higher-education institutions; within government or non-profit organizations; or within private companies.
There is not one major or minor that will prepare you for this field as there are many pathways into this profession, especially if you are pursuing an educator role that does not require licensure. Many initial licensure programs require a bachelor's degree first; you will have a comprehensive knowledge of your chosen subject matter, and then study at the graduate level to become a teacher. DirecTrack to Teaching is for current U of M freshmen and sophomores who want to explore the education field and get on the path to admission to the graduate teacher licensure program. You’ll stay in your major and college while taking education-related courses, doing service-learning in local classrooms, and building relationships with other future teachers on campus.
As you explore the career information below, consider what type of role may be a good fit for you and how you can not only gain experience in educational settings with different populations but also gain skills for the particular job role you would like to have.
Click to expand each gray box below for opportunities in this career field!
Use O*NET, a free online database that provides career information including job duties, salary, and job growth information for hundreds of careers to start exploring careers in this field. For more information, see this list of sample occupations by areas of Education. You can also watch career profiles of professionals in this field, including UMN alums!
One way some graduates get a start in this field is through organizations that offer short-term (1-2 year) service opportunities that can help you build skills and experience related to Education. Some programs include Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year, Teach For America, as well as programs to Teach English Abroad.
Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions that have recruited CLA students in the past. For a more comprehensive list of job openings, search Handshake, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students.
TRIO Upward Bound Advisor, Hennepin Technical College
Training Coordinator, Fast Enterprises, LLC
Assistant Early Childhood Education Teacher, St. David’s Center
Event Services Coordinator, University of Minnesota Student Unions & Activities
K-12 Substitute Teacher & Assistant, Teachers On Call
Education Navigator, MACC Commonwealth
City Year AmeriCorps Member, City Year Inc.
Academic Coach, Athletes Committed to Educating Students
School Psychologist, Hiawatha Valley Education District
Outdoor Education Instructor, YMCA Camp St. Croix
College Access Coach, College Possible
Summer Camp Counselor, Birch Trail Camp
Admissions Advisor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Ambulatory Client Training Specialist, Meditech
Behavior Therapist, Partners in Excellence
Parent Skills Educator, Reach for Resources, Inc.
Seek out opportunities, such as those listed below, to develop the 10 Core Career Competencies. Oral & Written Communication, Teamwork & Leadership, Engaging Diversity, Innovation & Creativity, and Active Citizenship & Community Engagement are especially valued within Education. Increase your competence in these areas by practicing public speaking, teaching/training others, designing learning outcomes, evaluating others’ learning, and developing an understanding of the unique characteristics and needs of specific populations. Finally, one of the best ways to prepare for a career in Education is to gain direct experience working with the populations you would like to serve or the types of organizations you are considering through volunteer opportunities, internships, full or part-time work experiences, job shadowing, and networking.
Internships and Part-Time Jobs
Building relevant internship or teaching experience (which is required through teaching licensure programs) is a great way to prepare for a career in education! Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions where CLA students have done internships and part-time jobs in the past. For a more comprehensive, search Handshake, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students or search for on-campus jobs.
Education Intern, Children’s Theatre Company
Arts Education Intern, Urban Arts Academy
History Day Mentor, Minnesota Historical Society
Extended Day Leader, Breck School
Leadership Minor Intern, Leadership Minor at the University of Minnesota
Teaching Assistant, Normandale Community College
Study Abroad Intern, Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota
Family Learning Intern, Minnesota Children’s Museum
Teaching Assistant, Colegio Divina Pastora
The Center for Community-Engaged Learning has advising staff that will help you get connected to one of the 300+ community organizations that match your interests. HECUA is a program that offers off-campus study that addresses some of the most important issues of our time. Semester-long HECUA programs incorporate classroom studies, an internship, and fieldwork.
Join a Student Group
Consider getting involved with a student group related to your major or interest areas to build a network, expertise, and skills related to the field of education.
Identify what topics you care about and/or what population of people you want to work with (examples: youth, adults, professionals, people with disabilities, English language learners, etc.). This will help you narrow down types of institutions or organizations to target your job search.
Identify what type of role you are seeking (examples: teaching/instruction, direct support professional, administration, policy, curriculum design, grant writing, etc.) and reflect upon how your past experiences have prepared you for that role.
In your application materials, emphasize why you care about the mission of the institution, as well as your related experiences working with people and/or in the field of education.
People who work in education tend to be very well connected to others in the profession. Utilize contacts you know in the field for advice on job searching and for suggestions of contacts at other institutions or organizations in which you are interested. Don’t have any contacts? Use the advice below to find some!
Some jobs in education will require additional education or training. Networking with other professionals in these kinds of occupations can help you learn more about how to gain entry into the field, and the kinds of work experiences that can be helpful to pursue before you earn additional credentials.
Job & Internship Search Sites
Below is a list of job search sites relevant to education, but make sure to also review individual district or private school websites to find open positions.
Handshake - search this free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students, you can filter by your career interests to find opportunities that connect with your career goals. Also, use Handshake to apply for on-campus interviews and to register for the MN Education Job Fair.
K-12 Job Spot
Minnesota Association of School Administrators Jobsite
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Job Board
State of Minnesota Job Postings
Council for American Private Education (CAPE)
WECAN - Wisconsin Education Career Access Network
Teachers on Call
Talk with and Observe Professionals
Networking can help you explore a career field; start by doing informational interviews which is when you set up a time to have a discussion with people who are in organizations or professions that are of interest to you to ask questions about their career path. Then, find opportunities to observe (or Job Shadow) these professionals at work so you can get a better sense of what that career would be like. Find alumni and professionals to speak with by searching the free to use Maroon & Gold Network which allows students to do highly tailored searches to find alumni and professionals in the community who share their specific career interests. For example, you can browse the network to find individuals who are willing to share insights by industry, college, major, degree type, employer, location and more. You can also find contacts by using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool.
Get involved with one or more professional organizations to gain career insights, search for jobs and internships, attend conferences, and/or connect with people in this career field.
Minnesota Education Association
National Education Association
American Federation of Teachers
Association of Teacher Educators
Association of American Educators
Council for Exceptional Children
American School Counselor Association
American Association of School Administrators
American Educational Research Association
International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language
Association for Career and Technical Education
American College Personnel Association
NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
National Association of School Psychologists
“Make sure your passions are aligned with the mission of the organization.” –Teach for America, representative
"Take a moment to step back and think about your options in the field of education. Are you interested in working in an elementary classroom, with high school level individuals, or students that are currently enrolled in college? How does your current experience and resume reflect your abilities to teach and mentor others? There are many short term commitments here in the Twin Cities and across the country to grow your professional experience and determine the next phase in your career." -College Possible, representative
"If you take the time to network, put yourself out there, make it known what your passions and interests are, and apply to opportunities--success is inevitable. Don’t be afraid to accept a short term opportunity to reflect on your college experience and determine what is right for you. Find a passion and you’ll never “work” a day in your life!" -College Possible, representative
Below is a list of some CLA courses that may help you explore and/or prepare for this career field. This list is not all inclusive. Please discuss your academic and career interests with your Academic Advisor for guidance.
Learning, Cognition, and Assessment, EPSY 3119
Introduction to Child Psychology, CPSY 2301
Literacy and American Cultural Diversity, ENGL 3741
Education and Society, SOC 3452
Laboratory-Based Physics for Teachers, PHYS 3071W
CLA Career Management Courses, including internship reflection courses